IKEA and little sun unveil helpful solar gadgets for everyday use

IKEA and little sun unveil helpful solar gadgets for everyday use

since its foundation in 2012, the little sun project has provided energy to communities without electricity around the world — a figure that now reaches more than 1.1 billion people. initiated by artist olafur eliasson and engineer frederik ottesen, the project has expanded over the years into a full range of solar products that now sees a collaboration with IKEA. dubbed sammanlänkad, this remarkable partnership has resulted in the development of helpful solar gadgets for everyday use.


designboom attended IKEA’s democratic design days 2019 where the collaboration was unveiled.

images © inter IKEA systems B.V. 2019 (unless otherwise noted)



about every seventh person in the world lives with minimal or no access to electricity. most of the time, this is accompanied with a lack of clean water and communication services, leaving people without basic necessities to human existence and community life. these conditions impact societies in more than the obvious, leading to a drop in education levels, reduced working hours and limited emergency medical care.



‘energy is vital in life today, but still many people have no grid at all or a broken grid. we want to find smart solutions for them as well as for people that have access but want to reduce their energy consumption to adapt to a more sustainable lifestyle,’ says james futcher, creative leader at IKEA of sweden.



since its inception, the little sun project has brought sustainable, reliable, and affordable light and energy solutions to communities worldwide and has facilitated people’s lives by reducing dependency on unreliable public infrastructure. by distributing solar-powered products and working closely with local entrepreneurs, it also has created jobs while bringing sustainable energy to empower those who need it the most.



‘we want to connect the world by sharing the power of the sun in order to promote a sustainable lifestyle. the collaboration with IKEA is a huge opportunity to raise awareness for energy access and the urgent need for global solutions, while at the same time working with world-leading product designers,’ says olafur eliasson, founder of little sun.



together, IKEA and little sun have been researching and learning from those who live outside the electrical grid to understand their experiences and the challenges they face daily. gaining a clearer idea about their needs has helped the collaboration to result in a range of products which can improve life in and outside of the home. IKEA and little sun have been developing solar panels that can be attached and connected to windows, charging docs and lights but can also provide solutions for active outdoor life.


the first products are to be released in 2021 in all IKEA markets.

image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom



project info


designers: little sun, olafur eliasson
creative leader: james futcher, IKEA
planned launch date: 2021

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